Resources for Parents of Addicts
Raising children is not easy and raising a child who has struggled with addiction to drugs and alcohol is even more challenging. Whether your child is an adolescent or an adult struggling with substance abuse, addiction challenges the family and parents in unique ways. That is why it is imperative to know where to find help for parents of drug addicts.
It is important for parents to understand that they did not cause their children’s addiction, nor can they fix it. Instead, part of the healing process is setting healthy boundaries and holding the addict responsible for their actions and the consequences of their actions which can be difficult for parents when it comes to their children. It is also important to recognize that addiction is a family disease and while a parent’s first priority may be to get their child the help they need, the parents and family members will also need to heal and may benefit from their own recovery programs.
Education for the Parents
As a parent of an addicted child, you may have asked yourself “what did I do wrong?” or “what could I have done to prevent this” at some point during your child’s struggles. You may have spent many nights worrying about your child’s safety and well-being, anxious that you may have to bail them out of trouble or out of jail, or frustrated that they have lied to you once again. You may have had to hide your own medications from your child or locked the liquor cabinet and also may have had to hide all of these stresses from family and friends.
A great starting point for families who may have just learned their child or teenager may have a substance use disorder is the National Institution on Drug Abuse website, which is the lead federal agency supporting research on drug use and consequences of drug use. Unfortunately there are many misconceptions surrounding the disease of addiction and as a parent of a child who suffers from substance use disorder, it is important to understand that you didn’t do anything wrong to cause this and that while your child may have taken an initial drink or drug, they did not choose to become an addict. By taking steps to educate yourself and others about the disease of addiction, you can help in the larger efforts of decreasing the stigma surrounding substance abuse and substance abuse treatment.
“Am I helping or am I enabling my child’s addiction?” Because there is a very fine line between the two. If you are worried that you might be enabling your child’s addiction, read this article on 10 signs of enabling behavior.
Other websites that may be helpful for parents include:
- FamilyDoctor.org which is operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians and provides a family medicine perspective on substance abuse.
- CollegeDrinkingPrevention.gov is a helpful website for parents that provides research and information about alcohol abuse and binge drinking among college students
- Healthychildren.org is a website sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics which provides information for parents of adolescents on substance abuse and substance abuse treatment including helpful guides for teen parties and prevention tactics.
- SAMHSA-ICCPUD provides research about addiction prevention and provides helpful videos for parents to talk to their college-bound children
- American Academy of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry is a helpful website that provides parents with information about mental health and substance use
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving is the website for the organization MADD which aims to end drunk and impaired driving and support victims
- National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism provides publications that are directed at parents for how to talk to their children about alcohol abuse and alcoholism
- Partnership for Drug Free Kids is an organization that strives to reduce adolescent substance abuse by supporting families and engaging with adolescents. The website has a helpful Parent Toolkit.
Finding a Treatment Center
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has several resources that may be helpful for parents of addicts who need substance abuse treatment. Millions of Americans have a substance use disorder and fortunately there are a variety of treatment programs that are available. FindTreatment.gov, is an official website of the US government designed to help those seeking treatment locate information about state-licensed substance use disorder treatment providers who specialize in treating addiction and mental illness.
By the time a parent realizes their child needs treatment, the parent-child relationship may already be strained due to loss of trust, frustration and fear. Instead of focusing on the mistakes your child has made or their poor decisions thus far, parents should consider being encouraging and optimistic with their child about the potential they have to change their behaviors and taking positive actions for their future. As a parent, you will likely be responsible for finding appropriate treatment center options and then discussing the different programs with your child to make sure you find one that is aligned with their needs.
Help for parents of drug addicts can also be found federally, Parents can find information on health insurance coverage of substance abuse treatment through the Federal Insurance Marketplace and Affordable Care Act Coverage requirements. Two helpful websites are:
Taking Care of You
Once your child has taken the first step to getting help, it is important to shift the attention to yourself. While there will be a lot of family work to be done towards family recovery, it is also important to remember your own self care, especially now that your child is safe under the care of a treatment facility. In addition to trying to catch up on sleep, relaxing, exercising and nourishing yourself, it is important to consider therapy, recovery meetings and family support groups to guide your own recovery.
Finding meetings and support groups can be a great deal of help for parents of drug addicts because you get firsthand experience from other parents of addicts. This can be a source of guidance, and a source of hope, as well as an invaluable source of mutual support. Here are some groups that may be helpful starting points for families looking for meetings:
- Al-Anon-is a 12 step program that parallels the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. The purpose of Al-Anon is to provide understanding and support for family and friends of alcoholics and addicts
- Alcoholics Anonymous-while AA is generally designed for those who have a desire to stop drinking, AA has several different types of meetings, including Open meetings which may be helpful for families
- Narcotics Anonymous-NA is another 12-step program that provides resources for both addicts and their parents
- Smart Recovery is a recovery support group that provides resources for families, teens as well as online meetings
Addiction Rehab in California
If your child is currently struggling with alcohol or substances, Asana Recovery can help. Contact Asana Recovery or give us a call today at 949-763-3440. Our trained professionals will walk you through the admissions process and make sure all of your questions are answered. The first step is admitting you need help, and is often the hardest. Once you take that first step, there will be a team on your side to help you be successful in your new future.